The History Press has recently published Cradle of the American Circus: Poems from Somers, New York by Jo Pitkin K'78. In her poetry collection, the Somers native commemorates the traveling menagerie that helped birth the American circus. Essays by local historians supplement the work.
A.W. Stencell, past president of the Circus Historical Society wrote:"Pitkin's poems about early American menagerie and circus showmen from in and around Somers, New York, is a wonderful read. Jo's prose reveals the care, love, risk and dedication these showmen had in creating a new and unique business. With great effort and investment these showmen brought the American public exotic wonders no American at the time had a chance to see. As a showman, circus owner, animal presenter and author, I loved Jo's work. You will too! "
The official book launch will take place on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Elephant Hotel in Somers. There will be authentic 19th-century refreshments and banjo music.
Pitkin is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in journals and anthologies including Little Star, Ironwood, Quarterly West, BigCityLit, Nimrod International Journal, Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, Stone Canoe: A Journal of Arts and Ideas from Upstate New York, among others. As a freelance educational writer, she is the author of over forty books for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Previously, she was an editor at Houghton Mifflin.
At Kirkland, Pitkin majored in literature and creative writing. She was the founding editor of Red Weather and received the George A. Watrous Literary Prize in Poetry. After graduation, she went on to earn her MFA degree in poetry from the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa.